Angela Merkel’s conservative partners in Bavaria have had their worst election performance for more than six decades, in a humiliating state poll result that is likely to further weaken Germany’s embattled coalition government. The Christian Social Union secured 37.2% of the vote, preliminary results showed, losing the absolute majority in the prosperous southern state it had had almost consistently since the second world war. The party’s support fell below 40% for the first time since 1954. Markus Söder, the prime minister of Bavaria, called it a “difficult day” for the CSU, but said his party had a clear mandate to form a government. Among the main victors was the environmental, pro-immigration Green party, which as predicted almost doubled its voter share to 17.5% at the expense of the Social Democratic party (SPD), which lost its position as the second-biggest party, with support halving to 9.7%.
Annalena Baerbock, the co-leader of the Greens, said: “Today Bavaria voted to uphold human rights and humanity.”
Andrea Nahles, the leader of the SPD, delivered the briefest of reactions at her party’s headquarters in Berlin, calling the results “bitter” and blaming them on the poor performance of the grand coalition in Berlin.
The anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland, which entered the national parliament for the first time after a federal election last year, repeated the feat in Bavaria – once considered to be off-limits – and will enter the regional parliament for the first time having secured 10.2% of the vote.